Emanuel Christ/Christ & Gantenbein
12:00 - Flagey

Emanuel Christ/Christ & Gantenbein

On Monday, 22 January, Lunch with an Architect will play host to Emanuel Christ, one of the two founders of the Swiss firm  Christ & Gantenbein.

The daily “Le Temps” recently ran the following headline: Does Swiss architecture exist?
A vast question… Switzerland certainly seems to be a fertile ground for architecture with household names such as Le Corbusier, Peter Zumthor, Herzog & de Meuron or Valerio Olgiati. These architects are all characterized by minimalism, total control of the materials, in particular ultrasmooth concrete, a penchant for pure lines and large structures that punctuate the landscape.

Emanuel Christ & Christoph Gantenbein are regularly cited as the standard bearers of the new generation of Swiss architects, or even the wonder boys of this new wave.

Created in 1998, the firm boasts 35 architects based in Basel. From the Vaugirard social housing in Paris to the Aquila tower in Pratteln, via the future competence centre of the chocolate maker  Lindt & Sprüngli, the projects of Christ & Gantenbein are emblematic of a pure architecture that goes back to basics and turns its back on the effects of show architecture. They are also known for their expertise in museum architecture:  Their most recent projects include the Art Museum in Basel and the National Museum in Zurich, both of which have won prizes. The firm is also a candidate for the Citroën Museum in Brussels.  Stay tuned!

Previous guests

Jakob Sand/BIG

09.10.2017 - On Monday, October 9, we will be hosting Jakob Sand, Partner at BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group. BIG is a New York and Copenhagen based group of architects, designers, builders and thinkers operating within the fields of architecture, urbanism, of projects throughout Europe, North America, Asia and the Middle East.

BIG’s architecture emerges out of a careful analysis of how contemporary life constantly evolves and changes, not least due to the influence of multicultural exchange, global economic flows, and communication technologies that together require new ways of architectural and urban organization. Like a form of programmatic alchemy, BIG creates architecture by mixing conventional ingredients such as living, leisure, working, parking, and shopping; by hitting the fertile overlap between pragmatism and utopia, BIG finds the freedom to change the surface of our planet to better fit contemporary life forms.

BIG was recently distinguished with a National AIA Honor Award, Wall Street Journal’s Innovator of the Year Prize, and Architizer’s Firm of the Year Award. Recently completed projects include Via 57 West an 80,000m2 mixed-use ‘courtscraper’, the new LEGO Experience Center in Billund or the future San Pellegrino bottling factory in Italy.

Julien De Smedt/JDS Architects

08.06.2017 - On Thursday 8th June, we will be playing host to Julien De Smedt of JDS Architects, a Belgian architect with international influence. JDS Architects was set up in 2006. It employs 30 people and has offices in Copenhagen, Brussels and Shanghai.

A glance at the work of JDS Architects gives us an idea of the international nature of the agency: from the ski jump for the world championships in Oslo (rated among the Top 10 travel destinations by Lonely Planet)through to a “campus” of offices in Istanbul and including the Iceberg dwellings in Aarhus, Denmark, or the H-Gate Project in Hangzhou, China. Based in Brussels, JDS is expanding its European portfolio, which comprises, among other things, the police station in Antwerp, the Conference Centre in Charleroi and Maison Stéphane Hessel in Lille.

Regardless of scale, those projects show an approach that is enthusiastic in its ambition, professional in its process and deeply socially conscious in its conclusions. JDS Architects has received numerous honours and awards for its work, including the prestigious Maaskant Prize and a Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale.

Manuel Aires Mateus

23.01.2017 - On Monday, the 23rd of January, Lunch with an Architect will be hosting the Portuguese architect Manuel Aires Mateus. He is one of the two brothers that head up the eponymous firm Aires Mateus, which employs 30 at its Lisbon offices.

Since Alvaro Siza and Eduardo Souto de Moura, Portuguese architecture has coined its own vocabulary and developed its own syntax, recognisable by its expressive minimalism. The Aires Mateus brothers are fluent in this language. Aires Mateus is a firm whose various projects communicate the fundamental principles of their architecture, managing a certain rigour without the coldness sometimes associated with it: the purity and simplicity of the design, an overall geometry that scrupulously gives due consideration to the internal volumes and a play between solids and voids sometimes interspersed with light, artificial or natural.

2017 will be a pivotal year for Aires Mateus with the opening of the Centre of Contemporary Creation in Tours, the Faculty of Architecture in Tournai or the on-going work on the ambitious projects of the new museum hub in Lausanne and the Muslim Centre in Bordeaux.

Snøhetta/Jenny Osuldsen

28.09.2016 - On the 28th of September, ‘Lunch with an Architect’ has the pleasure of hosting Snøhetta, a Norwegian agency based in Oslo and New York.

Snøhetta has 180 employees of 30 different nationalities and develops projects in Europe, Asia and the United States. Some of its latest creations can be found in San Francisco (SF MOMA), Paris (new headquarters of Le Monde) and New York (September 11 Memorial).

Set up from the outset as an integrated firm of landscapers, architects and interior designers, the firm’s projects are characterised by this deliberately interdisciplinary and cross-cultural approach.

Snøhetta’s hallmark is the osmosis that it naturally creates between landscape and architecture. Snøhetta integrates these two elements into a single process of creation and designs each project as a fragment of territory, with its own geography, climate and society, rather than as an object:
"Minimalist and hyper-contextual, Snøhetta’s architecture always seeks to take a back seat to the site itself, to bring out the readability and coherence of its environment".

Snøhetta cultivates an architecture that is sensitive, meaningful, almost metaphysical, integrating the most intangible and fluctuating elements of reality: the passage of time, the weather, light, seasons, movement.

Winy Maas/MVRDV

06.06.2016 - MVRDV was founded in 1991 in Rotterdam at the initiative of Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs and Nathalie de Vries.

850 000 m2 under construction, 5000 hectares of urban planning throughout the world, a team that has gone from 60 to 120 people in one year, many prestigious awards, including more than 15 for the very emblematic Markthal in Rotterdam: this, in a nutshell, is the vertiginous progress of this Dutch firm, recognized as one of the most influential in terms of contemporary creativity.

MVRDV is developing an architectural vision for a more ambitious, more optimistic, more efficient, more ecological and more compact city. An innovative, inspired and conceptual architecture that finds its rightful place in an enthusiastic outlook for the future and assumes a role of antidote to the crisis in all sectors (retail, offices, sports, residential, major projects) and on all continents, with the same passion and a quality crowned with many prizes.

Winy Maas will take us on a worldwide tour to present various iconic projects of the firm: the Dutch pavilion at the Hanover expo, Soloda, Villa VPRO, Markthal, the Rødovre Skysvillage in Copenhagen or the Grand Paris.

…. They all attest to MVRDV’s unrelenting quests for density and diversity of functions, leading to original combinations between extremely varied elements.

Xaveer De Geyter/XDGA

03.02.2016 - XDGA is an internationally oriented Brussels based office founded by Xaveer De Geyter, practising architecture, urbanism and landscape design on different scales and levels.
During the twenty years of its existence XDGA has participated in a large number of international competitions allowing the office to build up a portfolio illustrating its approach in architecture and urbanism. Today the office numbers 50 collaborators of 11 different nationalities and has offices in Brussels and Paris.

XDGA projects currently under construction include the subway station and public square Place Rogier in Brussels, the new headquarters for the province of Antwerp, a care centre for the elderly in Antwerp, a housing complex in Boulogne-Billancourt (Paris), the regeneration of the entrepot Mac Donald in Paris, and the master plan Paris-Saclay.

XDGA internationally rewarded projects include amongst others, the five housing towers in Breda (Mies Van de Rohe nomination), the Îlot Saint Maurice urban plan in Lille (Prix de l’urbanisme de France), the Elishout Kitchen tower in Brussels (BIGMAT AWARD, Grand International Prize).

The office was also rewarded with the 2013 Belgian Award for Architecture in the category public buildings and Xaveer De Geyter was awarded the Flemish biennial Cultural Award for Architecture 2014. Three travelling solo exhibitions on the work of XDGA have been on view and are accompanied with a publication: 12 Projects, 2001, After-Sprawl, 2002 and since 2013, XDGA_160_Expo.

Recent first placed competitions include the design of the waterfront in Vlora (Albania), the design for the Schuman Square in Brussels and a school building in Ghent.

Kengo Kuma

21.09.2015 - Born in 1954 in Yokohama (Japan), Kengo Kuma is one of the most influential Japanese architects.
His architecture is a form of poetry consisting of light, transparency and dialogue of materials.

He has won numerous international prizes. His works can be found in Japan, the United States and Europe. His architecture is geared to striking a balance with the environment under all circumstances so that each of his new structures can find its natural place in the environment as if it had always been there. The simplicity of the architectural gesture and an extensive use of natural materials draw inspiration from Japanese traditional architecture.

His most recent works in Europe include the Cité de la Musique [City of Music] in Besançon (2012), the Fond Régional d’Art Contemporain (FRAC) [Regional Collection of Contemporary Art] in Marseille (2013), the Conservatoire de Musique [Music Conservatory] in Aix-en-Provence (2013) and the athletic and educational centre of the Entrepot Macdonald [MacDonald Warehouse] in Paris (2014)

By way of conclusion, projects currently underway include the new Victoria & Albert Museum building in Dundee, Scotland, the “Under One Roof” building for the  Ecole Polytechnique de Lausanne (EPFL) [Lausanne Polytechnic School] , and the Green Innovation Factory in Trent, which consists of turning a 50,000 m² factor into a real laboratory for the promotion of sustainable construction. Finally, we should mention that Kengo Kuma was chosen to design the new, emblematic Saint Denis Pleyel train station in Paris, which will be a single connection hub for 4 lines of the Grand Paris Express.

Kengo Kuma is concurrently working on many projects in Japan, China, Taiwan and the United States.


Lunch with an Architect is intended as a forum for reflection and discussion to improve the quality of architecture in Brussels.

Through 3 meetings a year, Lunch with an Architect, in cooperation with Flagey, provides the real estate world with a window on the major contemporary events in the world of architecture, the more specifically Belgian issues, and the emblematic projects under way. 

Practical information

Monday, 22 January 2018 from 12:00 to 2:00 PM Flagey
Place Ste Croix, 1050 Brussels
Emanuel Christ/Christ & Gantenbein 98€*

A light lunch will be served after the conference


A certificate of attendance will be issued upon request.

* possible discount for architects younger than 30 : contact us


Lunch with an Architect is a private initiative made possible by the involvement of committed partners who want to improve the quality of architecture in our cities.

Besix Real Estate Development (BESIXRED) is a property development company specialized in sectors such as residential and offices buildings and buildings destined to be hotels, commercial and other service related premises.
BESIXRED is a subsidiary of the BESIX Group, a construction company with an international reputation.
The projects developed by BESIXRED range from residential buildings of only a few tens of thousands of square metres to complexes of much greater size. The one abiding constant is to respond to client needs, whether they be private, public or institutional investors.
BESIXRED is composed of a multidisciplinary and highly talented team with one mission, from the design stage onwards, to maximize the pleasure of living and working in our buildings, to optimize the environmental, economic and technical factors, and also to offer a high level of quality and an excellent after-sales service.
With its expertise of 27 years and recent impressive growth, BESIXRED is committed to diversification and geographical expansion of its activities into France and Poland, based on the strength of a group which has been in existence for more than a century.

Dans le cadre de mes compétences en aménagement du territoire, urbanisme, rénovation urbaine mais également en patrimoine, c’est avec enthousiasme que je soutiens ce type d’initiative. Il s’agit là d’une manière simple mais efficace d’élargir nos connaissances en architecture mais aussi de bousculer les conceptions, parfois trop figées, que nous avons de ce que doit être une architecture de qualité. Je l’ai déjà dit, mais je me plais à le répéter :
Bruxelles a besoin que l’on sublime ses nombreux atouts…parmi lesquels, bien sûr, l’architecture a un rôle de premier plan à jouer. D’abord, dans l’identité de notre capitale et dans la définition de sa perception pour et par les bruxellois, ensuite, dans l’attrait qu’une architecture de qualité représente pour le tourisme. Faire le saut d’une architecture innovante, c’est réapprendre à se faire confiance. Multiplier les lieux de discussions et de réflexions à ce sujet est, j’en suis convaincu, vecteur de créativité. « Lunch with an architect » est donc l’occasion de susciter la rencontre et l’échange, autour d’une matière : l’architecture.

Rudi VERVOORT Ministre-Président du Gouvernement de la Région de Bruxelles-Capitale

Celebrating our 80th anniversary at Flagey with as a guest of honour, arch. Daniel Libeskind, was our opportunity to reiterate our commitment to one of our main stakeholders, our architects. We worked hand in hand with Forum for this event, and then decided to get on board with the wonderful project “Lunch with an architect”.

SECO’s role has always been – and still is – to support our partners in their endeavors to develop challenging projects with extraordinary designs, innovative technologies and products; a perfect combination between aesthetics and functionality. We share their concern for durable, sustainable and comfortable buildings.

Choosing Kengo Kuma as the first guest of honour symbolizes SECO’s sympathy and support for innovation in the construction industry, especially the use of existing materials such as stone, in new applications, made possible through technical improvements.

We are extremely proud to contribute to this initiative and we are looking forward to this first celebration.

In collaboration with

With the support of


will take part in Lunch with an Architect and will transfer to account no. BE62 3630 1352 3961,  with reference Emanuel Christ/Christ & Gantenbein 22.01.2018  and the name of the participant’s company:

* possible discount for architects younger than 30 : contact us

An invoice will be sent upon receipt of payment.
Cancellation: A cancellation will be taken into account if notified in writing at the latest three days before the seminar. After that deadline, the registration fee shall remain payable.

Contact us

Lunch with an Architect is an initiative of Forum Press + Communication.
All conferences are held at Flagey. For more information:

Kathleen Iweins
Nathalie Zalcman


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